Balance Your Insulin, Lose Your Belly
Tired of a lifetime of abuse by the little voice inside her head Marcie enrolled in a 12-week coaching series with me last fall. She wanted to lose weight, but more importantly Marcie wanted to feel more comfortable in her body.
Like many of us, Marcie suffered with belly fat. She was a conscious eater, never stopping at a drive through and rarely choosing packaged foods. She had reduced her red meat intake preferring chicken as her main source of protein and was not fond of fish. Marcie loved fruit and ate Mexican food often. She ate whole, organic bread, grains and cereal. And yet, even though Marcie was making good whole food choices, she carried 30 extra pounds that was with her since she birthed her son 20 years ago. Totally frustrated Marcie came to me for help.
How could such clean eating lead to excess weight and belly fat?
Can a calorie, which is a measurement of available energy, behave differently depending upon what it is made of? The answer is yes, and the explanation lies in understanding the function of the hormone insulin.
The solution to lasting weight loss is to maintain normal insulin levels.
Glucose is fuel from food. Insulin is the hormone in charge of escorting glucose into the cells of your liver and muscles. Glycogen is readily available glucose, stored as fuel in your muscles for when you need to move. If you are moving less and eating more you are taking in more fuel than you need. It is insulin’s job reduce your blood sugar by to escorting the excess glucose out of your bloodstream. If there is no room for storage in your muscles, insulin will escort glucose to your liver, your waistline, and to other organs in the form of fat to be stored and used later. This is a survival system left over from the days when food was hunted and gathered and not always available.
Overloaded by excess demand, insulin receptors tend to store more and more glucose as fat. This is called insulin resistance. Insulin resistance signals the body to make more insulin, your metabolism slows, and you get fatter and fatter.
“Insulin resistance is the root cause for most women’s weight gain, belly fat, wrinkles, exhaustion, chronic inflammation and sugar cravings. Resetting your insulin is the single most important action you can take to lose excess fat. ” Dr. Sara Gottfried, Harvard-trained researcher, board certified OB/GYN,
How do you know if you’re experiencing insulin resistance? Lift up your shirt and look at your belly. If it’s spilling over your pants, it’s time to reset your insulin.
To reverse this “broken” feedback loop we must grow new hormone receptors. Do this by choosing foods that stabilize blood glucose, add exercise to increase the storage capacity of your liver and skeletal muscles, and take bio-individually appropriate supplements that help re-establish a healthy relationship between your cells and your hormones.
In reviewing Marcie’s food plan I found that although she was eating mostly “clean” foods, her carbohydrate-to-protein intake was out of balance. My counsel to her, go sugar-free and limit carbs to those high in fiber like leafy greens plus clean proteins like seafood, beans, nuts and seeds.
Track your Net-Carb Intake
Net carbs = Total carbs – Fiber content. Less than 20 grams/day of net carbs can raise cortisol and block healthy thyroid activity. For weight loss eat 25 – 45 grams/day of net carbs daily. For weight maintenance eat 50 to 99 grams/day of net carbs. More than 99 grams/day of net carbs tends to increase insulin resistance.
Ready to Lose Your Belly? Let’s balance our insulin together. Join me in the Lose Your Belly Online Program in late September, when the days are shorter, kids are back in school, and life becomes a bit more routine.
Details to follow.